Family Medicine of Jonesborough is a small practice in Jonesborough, Tenn., with one physician, a part-time nurse and a practice administrator. The practice’s goal is to provide the finest attributes of old-fashioned, personalized medical care utilizing the most up-to-date technology.
Complete EHR Integration
The practice came to Updox through their EHR. “Updox works seamlessly alongside Charts. The integration is key to helping our practice run so efficiently,” says Kari Jewett, practice administrator. “Our Updox platform offers complete practice communications management, including patient portal, online patient payments, Direct messaging and integrated electronic faxing.”
Updox combines many features to make physicians, staff and patients happy. “In a small practice like ours, Updox serves many roles and allows our practice to flourish without having to add extra staff,” says Jewett. “From a universal inbox, we are able to see and review every phone message, fax or email right in front of us. With just a few clicks, we can forward any item, respond to it, send it to the chart, make notes on it and file it away. We have no costs for additional phone lines, fax machines or scanners, papers or toner. That’s the kind of efficiency you have to have for a small business to thrive today.”
Getting Patients Engaged
Recognizing the benefits and costs savings, Jewett was quick to adopt a patient portal in 2010 for the practice. “In terms of cost and resources, the effort it takes our practice to care for 10 patients who actively use our portal is equal to what is required to care for one non-portal patient,” says Jewett. “Our patients love the instant results it offers and the conveniences it provides. Plus – the beauty of the Updox portal is that it works and it is easy to use. Other portals are challenging to try to register, set up and log on. Updox is entirely user friendly and you can see the benefits immediately!”
“Today, 78% of our patients use their portal to view results, schedule appointments, update their demographics and pay their bills. Because of the services that Updox provides, our staff makes 50 fewer phone calls each day. We can eliminate backlog and offer more personalized patient care. This is vital because, as much as our patients love technology, they want to know that we care about them as people. Our Updox solutions give us the time to do that.”
The practice distributed business cards that included space to write each patient’s portal username and password. “We established patients on the portal during their appointment and let them see how to log in. We explained that their test results or other information would be available for them on the portal and that it was easy to log in and view.” The practice is notified when patients have not read portal messages or viewed results. That notification includes what was sent to the patient so the callbacks can be prioritized.
Maximize Practice Efficiency
“The portal truly benefits everyone in the practice – physician, staff and patients. There is no extra work involved. We’re able to send out practice-wide broadcasts about schedule changes or vaccine clinics. We email patient bills two weeks prior to paper statements. The majority of patients make payments off their portal statements so our mailing costs are much lower and our cash flow is improved. Our experience tells us that the patient portal improves communication, strengthens patient relationships and helps patients become more independent, while making less work for physicians and staff.”
That patient satisfaction helps with great word-of-mouth referrals. Patients appreciate that the responsive service the practice provides through Updox. “In eight years, we’ve never advertised for patients outside of our web site,” says Jewett. “Patients tell us their results are sometimes waiting in their email before they get home from their appointment. They are able to message us with questions or concerns, schedule appointments at their convenience and have access to their health information anytime they need it.”
“People go into health care to help people,” says Jewett. “No one goes in wanting to hear frustrated patients, spend hours at a fax machine or leave phone messages all day. Updox takes the phone away, eliminates the stacks of paper, lowers costs and empowers our patients in a way that lets us spend our time caring for them in a more meaningful way.”
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